FC Ik Dien, with almost 100 years of history, is the 2021/22 UEFA Grassroots Awards Best Amateur Club.
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Founded in 1924, Ik Dien, located in Edegem, take the gold award for their commitment to the local community, providing grassroots football for men, women, boys and girls, as well as staging their own Rainbow Month to promote diversity and equality among its 800 members.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the game across Europe, Ik Dien (which translates as "I serve") has worked to offer playing opportunities to people of all ages, organising walking football programmes for veterans and youth initiatives for young players. The club has also placed a strong emphasis on the development of girls’ football by taking part in the UEFA Playmakers scheme and organising its own girls' football festivals.
In their own words: Sandra Aznar, Ik Dien board member
"It's a club to be proud of. We grew almost 15 per cent in the past five years and have almost 700 playing members and 120 volunteers active here in the club. Everybody is welcome regardless of their age, gender, talent, skin tone or religion. It's 'Ik Dien, one team.' We train to win but we play for fun – fair play is one of our key values.
"[To win the UEFA Grassroots Award] is a great achievement and recognition for all the hard work done for almost 100 years."
Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president
"Selecting the winners of the UEFA Grassroots Awards is always an enjoyable and inspiring task. It highlights the impressive, inclusive, and noteworthy projects of national associations and clubs across the continent, whose influence often sways beyond sports.
"Congratulations to the winners, and I wish you and all the nominees even more future success as you continue to forge these outstanding projects that have an essential impact on the game's growth and your communities."
Best Amateur Club 2021/22: Bronze and Silver winners
Silver: FC Kumayri (Armenia)
FC Kumayri organises activities in 20 communities in its local Shirak region, benefiting more than 250 disadvantaged boys and girls. The club uses football to promote integration, developing a multi-faceted approach to help children's personal and social development. During the COVID-19 pandemic, FC Kumayri also provided online meetings with coaches and video materials to help players train at home.
Bronze: Udruženje Respekt (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Founded in 2014, Udruženje Respekt offers free membership to children, with its mission to offer access to football for all young people in the local community who want to play, regardless of age, ability or background. With more than 200 members, Respekt also possess men's and women's senior teams, whose players work alongside qualified coaches to help the children learn about inclusion, integration and empathy.
About the UEFA Grassroots Awards
Since 2010, the UEFA Grassroots Awards have celebrated excellence beneath the elite levels of European football, highlighting the unsung heroes whose dedication allows the game to thrive and provides a foundation for the wider development of the sport.
Candidates are nominated by UEFA's member national associations, with award winners selected by UEFA's Executive Committee, following recommendations made by the organisation's Grassroots Panel and Development and Technical Assistance Committee.
How does UEFA select the winners?
The criteria for Best Amateur Club include outstanding work in the grassroots game, providing for a wide range of participants and delivering a positive social impact. This season, particular attention was paid in looking for a contribution to the return to play following the pandemic, as well as collaboration with schools or other institutions while supporting UEFA's overall grassroots philosophy.